Even though I consider watching the Super Bowl to be part of my civic duty, right up there with watching the State of the Union address, I won't be watching today. This year I'm only meeting half of my responsibilities as a citizen. I watched GWB on Tuesday, but will miss out on Tom, Eli, and the rest today. It's only the third week of the semester and I've already got a paper due this week. To compensate, here's a story to cap off the football season. I figured I should post it before the season comes to an end today. For non-football and sports fans, have hope, there is knitting content in this story.
Two weeks ago, I found myself at Lambeau Field for the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the NY Giants. B found a cheap flight to Minneapolis for the weekend and made the pilgrimage west. Never mind that we didn't have tickets, the plan was to head to Green Bay and see what we could make happen. The extent of our plan was as follows: Rent a car and drive to Green Bay on Sunday morning. Try to find tickets within our established, predetermined price point. Bundle up with layers upon layers to resemble Randy "I can't put my arms down" Parker. Meet up with B's hometown Wisconsin crew for tailgating. Barring successful procurement of tickets, find a local sports bar from which to watch the game. Even if we couldn't be at Lambeau, we were bound and determined to be among Packers fans in Packer Land.
After considering the uncertainty of our plans and the certainty of 20 below wind chills, I concluded, "No matter what happens, I'm sure we'll have a story to tell at the end of the day." A story indeed....
We drove into Green Bay late Sunday morning. B found a StubHub kiosk, which he used to look up tickets on Craigslist, much to the dismay of the StubHub employees. With luck, he found a guy who had posted tickets just that morning that fell within our budget. We met him at a nearby restaurant and made the purchase. Everything seemed legit, we made copious ATM withdrawals, and the tickets were ours. We were in.
Of course, once we had the tickets, doubt set in. What if our tickets were fake? B stopped two guys walking down the road and asked them to compare our tickets to theirs. They checked out our tickets and assured us they were real; they displayed the telltale watermark on the back to prevent fraudulent tickets. Feeling better, we went to park and pile on the layers of winter clothes. Our luck continued as we found a great free parking space in a neighborhood adjacent to the stadium. As we were getting out of the car, B decided to check just one more time about our tickets. He approached another group of fans walking by and asked to see their tickets. This group actually got out their tickets to compare. There was no doubt this time, our tickets were fake.
Real or Fake. Can you tell the difference?
The friendly fans suggested that we report immediately to the police. Maybe something could be done. It was little consolation when they tried to reassure us that at least our tickets were "really good fakes." We quickly found a police office who said that they had just brought in a suspect that matched our description. I hadn't had much contact with the scalper, so B headed off with the officer to check out the lineup. He soon returned to the car, our guy hadn't been among the suspects in the station lineup. Even better, B reported that he had set up a sting operation with the police. With all the layers we brought to bundle up, B selected new clothes to wear and avoid recognition by the scalper. B called the guy from a police cell phone, pretending to be a new prospective buyer, and set up a rendez-vous point to make the purchase. B and 4 cops approached the guy, who was found with fake tickets on him, and he was arrested.
In appreciation for his help and cooperation, the police reserved two game tickets available for us at the will call box office. We paid face value for them, unheard of for tickets to such a momentous playoff game. After a roller coaster day, and with less then 30 minutes before the opening kick-off, we had bona fide tickets to the game.
And what was I doing while B was off living out a real life episode of Cops? I was knitting of course!
Someone (i.e. me) had to stay with the car because it was parked in a reserved section for luxury box ticket holders. I happily obliged and set out to continue work on my third Clapotis. Unfortunately, I had had to go to the bathroom since we first went to park the car and things were reaching the point of desperation. I couldn't leave the car to go off in search of a porta-potty and there was no secluded spot nearby for me to go outside among the tailgating revelry. I started to imagine the spectacle of me getting brought into the police station on public urination charges while B was at the same station playing the hero and bringing thieving suspects to justice. Instead, I tried to focus on my knitting and ignore my increasingly vocal bladder. Just as things were getting desperate, B came back the triumphant hero, and we made a beeline for the bathroom. All's well that end's well, at least if you ignore the game's final score.
I won't dwell too much on the game's outcome. It's enough to say that even two weeks later B keeps calling it a heart breaker. After all we went through, it seemed only fair that the Pack should win. If only things worked that way.
Instead, I'll leave you with a visual to illustrate just how cold it was. With every sip (or maybe glug) or beer, a film of liquid froze to the side of the glass. It quickly built up into a layer of icy beer rimming the sides of every glass. It was a race to the finish.
The fashion statements were also a sight to see. My top layers numbered 7 items of wool, fleece and down, plus the obligatory Packers jersey somewhere in between. While I've never been a proponent of wearing fur coats, you have to love a team whose fans top off floor length furs with a cheesehead hat!